Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia
North east Pacific Ocean
Shallow, coastal waters; often found in kelp canopies
Carnivores and foragers
Order Carnivora (carnivores); Family Mustelidae (weasels)
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Sea otters are a charismatic marine mammal found in the north east Pacific Ocean. As a keystone species, sea otters are a critical member of the kelp forest ecosystems they live in. They are foragers, mostly eating hard-shelled invertebrates such as sea urchins. By keeping the population of kelp-grazing sea urchins to a minimum, sea otters are vital to the health and stability of the kelp forest, and in turn, all the species that depend on kelp forests for survival. Sea otters are preyed upon by bald eagles, killer whales and sharks. They also have many adorable traits, including wrapping themselves in kelp or holding hands while sleeping to keep from drifting away.